Talk about meeting interesting people…last night I went out with the team I’m working with for a meal and a few drinks. After they all called it an evening, I started wandering back to the little hole in the wall of a hotel I was staying in, which apparently is in one the worst areas of Derby. I couldn’t face hanging out in the room waiting to fall asleep, so I rang one of the other consultants who is working on the project and I knew to be a bit of a gambler. Sure enough, he was in the casino. He told me to come on over and have him paged and he’d sign me in. So that’s what I did.
As we were sitting at the bar, An older guy, white hair, black suit, comes over. Pat (my consultant friend) starts chatting with this guy, you know, the usually stuff, “how this one, how’s that one.” I assumed it was a mate of Pat’s who lived in Derby and that they were catching up on things. Pat then introduces me to him. His name is Dez. We start talking. “Where are from in the States?” New Jersey. “I know New Jersey. I’ve spent a lot of time there.” Atlantic City. “Yeah, and other places.” We banter on like that for a while. We discovered that we’d both been to Boston and I tell him about the time me and some friends broke into someone’s house (someone we knew and knew they were away) to watch football and drink beer from the keg we’d “acquired”. We were kids, all under aged drinkers, and needed some place to drink this thing and not get caught.
Anyway, he tells me about his dad and the time they were in Boston how they drove where they weren’t suppose to be driving and had all these people pissed off at them. We chuckle at bit. Then Dez calls his dad over and introduces me to him. We exchange a few words and then his dad grabs a pint and heads to the end of the bar. a few feet away. Dez and I continue to talk. I tell him I like dog racing. He says he’ll arrange a night out for me at the Nottingham track, dinner and all. I tell him I’m into adventure racing and mountain biking. He disappears for a moment and comes back with, and introduces me to, an elite class downhill mountain biker. Dez says, “you have to have contacts, you never know what’ll happen.” I chat to the downhill mountain biker. He’s raced all over Europe and some in the States. It turns out we’ve both been to Morzine in France and we exchange stories about the mountains there. We chat for a little while longer and then mountain bike man nips off to go back to gambling.
Dez and I start talking again. I tell him I’m looking for a female team-mate to race with us in April. He disappears again and returns with a fit looking female. It turns out she’s a fitness freak and likes the idea of adventure racing and wouldn’t mind giving it a go. I tell Dez about Ascent. He says, “Call Richard Branson. He’s into those things.” It’s about this time that I start to think that Dez is my genie in a bottle. I ask. He conjures it up. Dez sees that I’m married. “How far are you from Wolverhampton?” 45 minutes. “Good. I own a fantastic Greek restaurant there. You bring your wife, have a meal, all on the house.”
The hours pass and Dez finally disappears back into the casino. Pat leans over and tells me who Dez is.